Charlie Austin is a done deal for Newcastle United and will lead the NUFC forward line next season, according to the only newspaper to be given exclusive access to by Mike Ashley.

Wednesday afternoon saw the Daily Mirror be named a ‘preferred media partner’ by the club and only they and Sky Sports allowed to speak to Steve McClaren at his ‘press conference’ unveiling.

Now leading with a headline of ‘Austin deal done, Berahino next’, the Mirror state that ‘Charlie Austin will become Newcastle’s first summer signing in the next week’.

The newspaper’s north east reporter Simon Bird adding that ‘England Under-21 striker Saido Berahino is also on their radar’.

If indeed Newcastle do sign Charlie Austin, then any photo opportunity would have to wait until next week at the earliest as the QPR striker is away with England for their Euro qualifier against Slovenia.

Austin and Berahino were both in the top six of Premier League goalscorers last season and despite playing for struggling teams, they amassed 32 goals between them – 18 for the QPR man and 14 for the Baggies striker.

HOWEVER, despite the Mirror being Mike Ashley and NUFC’s preferred media partner and given exclusive access AND stating ‘Austin deal done’…the following is added to their exclusive about Newcastle signing the striker:

‘That means £15m-rated Austin is to be poached from relegated Queens Park Rangers after scoring 18 goals last season, his first in the top flight, in a struggling side – although there will be haggling over the fee with the Geordies only wanting to spend £10m.’

So it is a ‘done deal’ but no deal is agreed and Newcastle United want him for £5m less than the asking price, with any number of other clubs surely prepared to pay £15m (and the rest probably).

This for the fourth top goalscorer in the Premier League last season and Harry Kane the only English player to score more?

This Charlie Austin transfer story is being built up to be a potential deal breaker for both Mike Ashley and Steve McClaren’s credibility in terms of things really having changed at Newcastle United.

As for the Mirror’s ‘preferred media partner’ tag, who can you really believe if this transfer tale becomes the latest in a long list that didn’t get ‘over the line’?